Letters – Poem by Tamara Keeney

My wonderful sister Tamara sent me this poem to post on here.


My grandmother lost herself in letters and syntax and grapes that refused to ripen, waiting for my grandfather to come back and rebuild their charred house, to hang the Jesus holograph photo in the kitchen. She waited for us to come back for her empty yellow high chair she glued to the ceiling and for her low oak branch that hoisted us onto thrones and prison cells.

Her letters reversed themselves on paper as they traveled across state lines. She revealed truths of songs turned to scissors and leaves turned to cats and still I replied, writing each letter in straight lines, dousing the corners in chardonnay and licorice. I admitted great secrets in whispers and told her of my sexual conquests with other women I had accidentally fallen down for.

She said I was her favorite and sent a slice of doughy apple pie inside cat-figured salt and pepper shakers. She explained her green thumb was cut and wouldn’t stop bleeding on the apple tree my grandfather planted in his lungs.

I dribbled the pie along my windowsill and wrote that the cats were well-fed and keeping the paprika in check. I asked if she missed my father fishing in the pool of wire and trout and God and screwdrivers, if she knew he sat long nights in front of fires eating cherry tree branches, if she could write and explain his father was hammering and painting and hanging and fishing for brook trout.

She scribbled my father’s name and let the pencil find the side of the paper then take over. It sketched water lilies stretching off the page, notes deflating and missing the paper’s lines, locks without keys, bowls of plastic bananas, apples, pears. It snuggled in the white spaces and bent and tore her Ts and Ns and Es until it collapsed off the page and table to rest.

She apologized and explained her thoughts were runny and smelled like new books. She remembered a small girl who once climbed her oak tree and plucked winter branches off to paint leaves on the ends.  She asked if I remembered—the girl who donned a summer dress and jumped from the low branch, flapping frozen branches in each hand as she fell.


Recommended Textbook: The Hollywood Standard 2nd Edition

Since I didn’t get into the creative writing course that I wanted, I decided to take a screenwriting course. With that course, our required text was Christopher Riley’s The Hollywood Standard, 2nd edition.

This book is very simple to understand. It is a useful guide whether you are a new screenwriter or one with experience. At the beginning of the book, it has a quick start guide which goes through the basics of writing a screenplay. From just reading that part, anyone could easily start a screenplay.

Most of the book gets into more specific things on writing a screenplay, like writing for a single camera versus multiple cameras. Along with showing how to write something, it also gives examples on what not to write, which can be very helpful.

At the end of the book, it gives samples of scripts for single and multiple camera angles.

Overall, this book is a good companion to anyone who wants to try out screenwriting and see if it is for them.

Recommended Book – The Pendragon Series

Since this series has ten books, I’ll be recommending all of them. This is a series I read way back in middle school and recently started reading again. I must say, this series is just as good as it was seven years ago.

This series, written by D. J. MacHale, is a fantasy series about a boy named Bobby Pendragon. His Uncle Press reveals to him that he is what they call a traveler. There are these things called gates where a traveler can pass through to go to a different territory, which is essentially another world. There are approximately ten different territories. The reason he needs to travel to these territories is to stop the antagonist, Saint Dane, from destroying the territories. He doesn’t attack them head on, however. He creates a domino effect which ultimately makes the territories destroy themselves.

Even if you normally don’t read fantasy, I still think you should read these books. There are so many characters and they are all unique in their own way. There are many strong female characters, right from the start of the first book. The worlds the author creates feel like they could exist, even though you know they don’t.

I hope you consider reading, and if you do, I hope you enjoy them.